They say good things come in threes – which has worked out pretty well for a small-scale miner from Tanzania after he recently unearthed a third Tanzanite stone.
Tanzanite is one the rarest minerals on Earth and is found only in a 7 km by 2 km strip near the Mererani Hills, not far from Mount Kilimanjaro in the east African nation of Tanzania.
Saniniu Laizer first made headlines in June when he became an instant millionaire after selling two Tanzanite rocks for $3.4m. The two stones weighed 9.2kg and 5.8kg.
His thirst for mining still unquenched, Mr Laizer incredibly uncovered a third Tanzanite just a month later. This gem weighed 6.3kg and sold for $2m.
Primarily blue or violet in colour, Tanzanite exhibits stunning trichroism qualities – meaning that it appears to change color – to green, red, and purple – depending on lighting conditions and crystal orientation.
Small-scale miners such as Mr Laizer apply for government licences to allow them to mine for Tanzanite.
There have been issues of illegal miners, and Mr Laizer has encouraged them to work with the government instead.
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“Selling to the government means there are no shortcuts, they are transparent,” he said during a ceremony at the northern Mirerani mine.
In 2017 the military constructed a 24km wall keep out illegal miners.
Mr Laizer, who has 30 children and four wives, said in an interview that he would not change his lifestyle despite his new found riches. He will also continue to tend to his 2,000 cows.
He has pledged to use some of his Tanzanite earnings to build a school and a health facility where he lives in the Simanjiro district in northern Manyara.
Image Credit: TANZANIA MINISTRY OF MINERALS